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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Sterling’s Own American Legion Riders
For many veterans, helping others includes a bike and a ride. A motorcycle ride, that is.

For generations, the American Legion has offered an array of programs designed to help veterans after their return from the front lines of battle. And, since the 1970s, access to those programs has been available in Sterling through American Legion Post 150.

In 2012, two Post 150 members and Sterling residents—Pat Linehan and Matt Matyuf—began floating the idea of launching an American Legion Riders chapter in the area to provide motorcycle escorts for military-related functions and fundraising assistance for American Legion activities. They contacted Charlie King at the American Legion post in Purcellville, who quickly got on board, and soon afterward the Loudoun County American Legion Riders chapter was formed.

Among other projects, the Loudoun chapter meets the honor flights that arrive at Dulles and National airports, usually on a Saturday morning, and escorts the buses filled with the arriving veterans to the World War II memorial in Washington. In addition, the group provides escorts for military funerals and funding for special projects such as the transportation for delegates to the Girls State and Boys State summer leadership programs sponsored by the American Legion.

This weekend, the area’s American Legion Riders are presenting a steak dinner fundraiser to benefit an array of American Legion Rider and American Legion Auxiliary programs. The dinner takes place June 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 293, located at 112 N. 21st Street in Purcellville. The evening includes a steak dinner with baked potato, salad bar and dessert, as well as raffles and 50/50 prizes. The cost is $20. Children are welcome to attend. If you can’t get to the fundraiser, donations may be sent to American Legion Chapter 150, P.O. Box 111, Sterling, Va. 20167.

You can expect to hear a lot more nationally about the American Legion Riders. Beginning June 23, actor/writer/producer William Shatner will be traveling Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles with a group of American Legion Riders and a team from American Wrench, a builder of custom motorcycles. The road trip, featuring “Missions for Bill” suggested by American Legion Rider chapters along the route, is a test drive for the Rivet, a new vehicle created by Shatner and American Wrench. And, yes, the entire trip will be filmed for a future television broadcast.

For information on the American Legion Riders in Sterling, contact Matt Matyuf, the assistant director of Loudoun County American Legion Riders Chapter 293, at 703-444-9270.

Contact at KathieFelix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.

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By Jen Lofquist

Sometime before 1000 AD, inventors in China figured out how to make gunpowder, which is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. They used this mixture to create the world’s first fireworks. Although it took a bit to make them rocket propelled, fireworks were used to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck. So obviously they should be part of any and all celebrations.

Of course, you can find a fireworks stand on nearly every street corner about this time – but sparklers (as lovely as they are) aren’t that much bang for your fireworking buck. Good fireworks – the kind that make your ears rattle and your heart miss a beat as they explode – are best done by professionals, especially professionals who have fire departments watching over them.

This coming weekend, Saturday, June 27, Sterling Golf and Swim (located right on Sterling Boulevard) is hosting a Fireworks Festivals, guaranteed to brighten your eyes, still your heart and bring good fortune to everyone in Sterling. The festivities kick off with a golf tournament complete with prizes, which promises to be more fun than you can shake a golf club at.

Then at 7 p.m., Swing Shift Big Band hits the stage to bring you the best in live swing music, including “Come Fly with Me” and the hopefully not appropriate “Stormy Weather.” After you’ve danced your feet off and it’s gotten really good and dark, Sterling Golf and Swim is going to make some noise with a huge fireworks extravaganza.

Now all this sounds like a really good time, but the best part is the show and the fireworks are all free. Just show up and have fun. Food and beverages will be on sale at the event, so please don’t pack a cooler. Even better than the cost is what you’ll be supporting when you come – the Wounded Warrior Project.
Proceeds from this wonderful event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which gives assistance to our wounded veterans when they come home. It’s a wonderful charity, and you can learn more about it at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

In the meantime, mark your calendars, shine your dancing shoes and be ready to have every evil spirit around make a run for the hills. For more information about the event, or to find out how you or your business can become a sponsor, visit http://www.sterlinggolfandswim.com or call 703-430-1400.

Got news in Sterling to share? Let me know at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Stories my father told me
For years, I called my father every Sunday to catch up on the events of his week. Some weeks, it was difficult to find the time for those phone calls, mostly because of an unpredictable work schedule. Occasionally, there were times that I didn’t want to call because I was afraid I’d mention something tough that was going on and I didn’t want him to worry. But, in general, every week, shortly after 1:30 every Sunday afternoon, I picked up the phone and found myself in a conversation that always seemed to turn into a chance to learn something new about my dad.

One year, I was giving a presentation on Halloween to a group of button collectors in the area. I’d spent the weekend doing research about the way the holiday had changed over the years. When it was time to call my father, I decided to ask him about any changes he might have noticed in Halloween. His answer made me wish I’d thought of asking questions like that a lot sooner.

My father told me that, when he was a child, Halloween was not just a matter of knocking on a front door and saying “trick or treat.” In his day, the youngsters were expected to entertain their elders to receive their goodies. Being a quiet guy, my dad had a tough time delivering the expected song or poem and found Halloween to be a very trying experience.

When talking to the button collectors, I mentioned the customs of my father’s neighborhood. That opened up a wonderful stream of participation from an audience that, up to that moment, had been very reserved. The smiles on the faces of the older collectors, and the energy in the mischievous stories they shared about their youth, made me realize just how much my dad had helped me with my talk.

Another year, as the Christmas season was getting under way, my father said that he wanted everyone in the family to write down a Christmas memory each year. He thought it would be interesting to see how different each person’s view of a family occasion might turn out to be.

Most of the family responded to the idea with a groan and steered the conversation in another direction. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be able to round up those stories and put them together in a special family book.

Call your dad on Sunday. It's Father's Day.

Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.

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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Expanded bus service starts July 6
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Fastest Folks in Eastern Loudoun
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Honoring service men and women
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: ‘Great Gatsby’ Casino Night in Cascades
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Summer robotics camps return to Sterling
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: St. Baldrick Returns to Sterling
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Lifting Spirits with a Package from Home
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